america: a dream deferred

Print page

On this past Saturday, February 4, 2023, I was invited by a society called the Daughters of the American Revolution(DAR) to attend a ceremony where they would award me with a certificate for my winning essay titled, We the People. .: The Citizen and The Politik,[1] that I entered into a contest they held two months prior. At this ceremony , I would also be given the opportunity to read my paper to the entire organization. My essay commented on what should be ,as opposed to what it currently is, the relationship between the people (Citizen)  and the political state(Politik). In this essay, I pointed out how the American state has a parasitic relationship with the Citizen, bleeding dry the working class in favor of the wealthy elite, and oppressing the working class in innumerable ways, to varying degrees on the basis of factors like race and gender. I concluded by offering several plausible solutions to create a more egalitarian society that respects the social contract. After completing it, I added a dedication which referred specifically to all the suffering people I had in mind while writing the paper, including, the Iranians under the Islamic State, the Palestinians under the Zion Reich, the  Black South Africans under new apartheid, the Uyghurs under Chinese cultural and religious persecution, and many others. 

The DAR society was not fond of this and asked me to drop the dedication for fear of my “offending people with my specific religious and political views”, which makes no sense, since the whole article was basically a political manifesto. But even this wasn’t enough for them! On the day of the speech, one of the DAR members, assuming I had not brought my speech with me, printed out a copy and gave it to me. This copy not only omitted my very important dedication, but also cut out my conclusion wherein I had stated ways to solve the egregious inequality and injustice perpetuated by the American state; right before standing up and reciting the preamble of the constitution extolling free speech and other democratic republican principles and going over the first ten amendments of the constitution, which supposedly guarantee those rights.

Thoroughly incensed by the society’s hypocrisy, when it came my turn to speak, I said the entirety of my original speech, the dedication included, much to the chagrin of the DAR Society, which I must not forget to mention was about as diverse as northside Chicago. 

I stuck to my guns that day, and walked away with my certificate and $500 award, but more importantly, I could walk away with a clear conscience knowing I had stood up for my inalienable, God-given rights. However, what happened with the DAR society is indeed a metaphor for American hypocrisy. Our philosophy of saying one thing and doing the exact opposite. 

Now I could easily write an entire novel just ranting on about American hypocrisy, but I’d like to focus instead on the deeper implications and consequences of that hypocrisy.  

One of the biggest is perhaps the self-righteous culture of exceptionalism, which deludes us into thinking we are the gold standard of virtue that the whole of humanity must be judged against. All the while we do not adhere to the rules we set for others or ourselves. This has created a society where rhetoric means nothing and people have come to expect nothing except deception and thus think it ok to cheat, lie, and double cross with reckless abandon; thus creating a culture where morality is non-existent, submerged hopelessly beneath a bottomless sea of avarice and chicanery.

Most tragically, it speaks to a mindset that completely eschews reality in favor of a fantastical view of the world shrouded by grandiose ideology, that exhorts and asserts what we could be- a mystery- , whitewashes and what we have been- history- , and smokescreens what- as a whole- we effectively are, in the here and now: an abominable presence, to ourselves and others. 

To all Americans I leave you with this: the heavenly dream, though now indiscernible from the nefarious serpent that gestated in its light, is not to exploit, not to be immoral, not to dominate others, not to constantly long for a return to the past,  but to define ourselves and our own  destinies, to progress at Godspeed as we are able to do. It means freedom of expression of dissenting opinions. If you are a patriot, if you truly love your country, if you truly want your nation to be great, then you will sincerely adhere to her principles, you will treat others as equal republican citizens, and you will call out the nation’s deep seated structural problem as you do not want to see it collapse. If you claim yourself a true American, a democratic republican, but do not follow the spirit of that title, you are nothing, save a hypocrite. You are the unpatriotic one.